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Need to use – Egg whites

Being invited to a friends place for dinner is a special treat for me as not too many people will invite and willingly cook for a (self confessed) food junkie.  However, our friend M is a wonderful cook in his own right and often provides me with recipes for his generous and delicious creations.  I offered to make dessert because I had a couple of egg whites sitting in the fridge that I wanted to get rid of but couldn’t bear to throw out (I know, sad isn’t it).  The first thing that I thought of making was a pavlova because it is easy and transports well but I had made one of those for the same dinner guests previously so decided against it.  I really wanted to create a meringue layered with passionfruit curd because I also had purchased some lovely passionfruit during the week that were begging to be utilised.  So being the stubborn Taurean that I am, that is exactly what I created.  I must say, I was quite proud of this dish so I hope you enjoy it too.

meringue stack with passionfruit curd and banana (recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller and Taste online)
serves 6 (my version)

My alterations:  *I only used 4 egg whites and divided the remaining ingredients to suit.  This mixture made two 14 x 20cm layers.  *I used less castor sugar as I follow the rule of 50g of castor sugar for each egg white to make meringue.  *I cooked the meringue at a slightly highter temperature than the recipe suggested by starting it on 150°C for 30 minutes then reducing it to 100°C for the final 30 minutes.  This makes sure that the outside is nice and crisp and the inside a little soft and sticky.  *I used two medium sized bananas to cover on layer.  *I didn’t mix the curd into the cream as the recipe suggests.  My layers from bottom to top were – meringue, banana, passionfruit curd, meringue, cream, fresh passionfruit.  *I used the old fashion method of cooking the curd, in a pot on the stove.  I feel I have more control over the result than if I use a microwave, although I am sure it would work well.

My tips:  *I always add a pinch of salt to my egg whites when I beat them up, it helps them to hold their shape once they are whipped up.  When mixing the sugar into the egg whites make sure that you do so slowly and beat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved.  This will prevent the layers from “weeping” after they are cooked.  *The easiest way to get the pulp from passionfruit is to squeeze it and roll it between your thumb and forefinger like you do with citrus.  This also prevent scrapping the membrane out that encapsulates the seeds.  *When making the curd you need to be careful that the eggs don’t curdle as it thickens.  I found moving the pot on and off the heat while whisking or stirring did the trick.  *You could prepare all of the ingredients and assemble this just before serving, that will ensure the meringue stays slightly crunchy.

Meringue stack

ease: 10/10.  This is simple meringue and the shapes don’t need to be perfect.   
prep time: 20 mins + cooling and assembly.
cooking time: 60mins.
total: 1hour 20mins.

Passionfruit curd

ease: 8/10.  I cooked this on the stove (see my alterations) and needed to be careful that it didn’t curdle.  
prep time: 5 mins.
cooking time: 15mins.
total: 20mins.

taste: 10/10.  Meringue stack with banana and passionfruit curd – Firstly, I have to say that I don’t like passionfruit.  I made this because G & M both love it and I had some to use.  The outcome was that we all loved it.  The passionfruit curd was sweet while still tasting of the fruit itself.  The meringue yielded slightly as we cut into it but everything held its shape very well.  The flavours were well balanced and each seemed to contribute to the other tasting that much better and the textures melded together beautifully.    

We had some left over and it was just as good the next day.  The meringue had softened slightly but had not collapsed and the flavours were fabulous.

would I make it again: Absolutely – Especially to impress friends.

Meringue recipe [1] – From Gourmet Traveller Online

Passionfruit Curd Recipe [2] – From Taste Online